W HEN will members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) learn to use other means to make their demands to the Federal Government known other than by embarking on industrial actions every now and then? Just last week, ASUU members embarked on another strike, and all efforts of the Federal Government to make them see reason not to down tools have so far failed.
While I am not saying that it is not right for ASUU members to make demands that will improve the state of education in the country, these frequent strikes are doing more harm than good to the system.
If the Federal Government promised that it would be giving a certain amount to the university system, and it fails to fulfil the promise, will embarking on strike bring about the solution to the problem?
It is so unfortunate that Nigeria’s education system is collapsing by the day as a result of the ‘connivance’ between the government and ASUU. I said ‘connivance’ because the government is responsible for the terrible state of education in the country, but ASUU has also not helped matters with its frequent strikes. There was even a time when students were jokingly asking that which ‘strikes’ the most between ASUU and thunder.
Therefore, the current strike which members of ASUU have embarked upon is not in the best interest of university education in the country. At a time when Nigerian students are finding succour in foreign universities, which is resulting into over $1billion annually in capital flight from the country through tuition payment, ASUU is making things worse in the education system by embarking on another strike.
The truth must be told, Nigerian students, and Nigerians in general, are tired of the ‘annual’ ASUU strike, and unfortunately, it has reached a situation whereby nobody seems to be concerned when the union declares a strike to press home its demands.
ASUU members should note that the political office holders who administer education in this country do not have their children in these public universities. So the frequent ASUU strikes are only at the detriment of the children of the masses. While ASUU and the Federal Government will begin negotiations, children of the masses who attend these public universities are kept at home doing nothing. We shouldn’t forget that these are youth who are so technologically and socially advanced, and when they have nothing doing, they will find themselves in illegal acts to keep themselves engaged. This sums up the saying that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.
After several negotiations, promises of money will follow on the part of the Federal Government, and the strike will be called-off. Who then loses in this scenario? It is the students who lose, and the education system. What are we projecting to the international community as far as tertiary education is concerned in Nigeria? I, therefore, hope that ASUU will soften its stand during its negotiations with the Federal Government on this current strike, while calling-off the industrial action with immediate effect.
- Dr Tajudeen Kareem,